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When you have your first child, everything changes. Suddenly life ceases to be all about you and involves sustaining someone else. But just because you commit most of your energy to your child, doesn’t mean you can’t have friends of your own.
The Challenge of Making Mom Friends
Do you remember how easy it was to make friends when you were in school? Whether elementary school, middle school, high school, or college – making friends was probably fairly straightforward for most of your life. Being surrounded by the same people for hours each day will have that effect.
But suddenly, after the structure is removed from the equation, perhaps you’ve found that it’s challenging to make friends. Throw in motherhood, which requires most of your time and energy during the waking hours, and it can feel downright impossible at times.
One of the big challenges is that you don’t have a ton of time to be out and about. You aren’t spending a leisurely hour at Starbucks in the morning or hanging out at the gym. And you certainly aren’t shopping with kids in tow.
But there are other reasons it’s hard to make mom friends. According to mom Rebecca Lang, it’s because we’re too quick to judge people as moms first and women second.
“I know I’m guilty of this,” Lang admits. “The relatively insignificant choices other mothers make every day for their kids serve as a filter through which I consciously and subconsciously sift potential friends, and this qualifier doesn’t exist for other kinds of friendships.”
A third challenge is that you’re essentially a package deal. Not only do you have to get along with the mom, but your kids have to as well. This dynamic makes it hard for mothers – especially those of young kids – to make new friends.
But making mom friends isn’t impossible. It requires a unique approach and it may not be easy, but there are opportunities if you’re willing to put in the effort.
5 Tips to Make Things Easier
Not sure where to start? Overwhelmed by the challenges of your circumstances? Nervous about interacting with adults for a change? Here are some tips that will make befriending other moms a little easier:
1. Get Contact Information
Let’s start with the basics. Meeting someone and having a conversation is great, but you can’t make friends without doing some follow-up. While it can feel a bit like dating, don’t be afraid to ask for another mom’s contact information. That could mean their phone number, social media profile, or even email address. Getting contact information makes it much more likely that you’ll hang out again and become friends.
2. Head to the Playground
The playground or park is the perfect place to make some friends. In fact, it may be the best place to make friends during the spring and summer.
“I find that the swing set area is especially conducive to meeting other parents,” Rachel Sales writes for Smilebox. “With only a few swings present and the area typically cordoned off, parents have nothing to do except push their happy children and make conversation with the caretakers standing next to them.”
3. Join Local Groups and Clubs
Friendships are often built when there’s some common ground. So, if you don’t feel like the playground is conducive to making friends, you may find more practical value in joining local groups and clubs.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find workout classes for moms and kids, lunchtime meetup groups, walking and jogging groups, or playtime hangouts. Ask around and you may find some of these options nearby.
4. Try One of These Apps
Need a little more help? The answer to making mom friends may be in the palm of your hand. Just like there are dating apps, there are apps specifically designed to help moms befriend other moms with similar interests. MomCo is one of the most popular, but there are plenty of others – including Hello Mamas, Smile Mom, Hey! VINA, and Speed Dating for Moms.
5. Get the Neighbors Together
Neighbors are often the most convenient friends. If you live on a street with lots of young families, then there are probably some other moms who are looking for companionship. The best part about neighbors is that you don’t have to go very far. Depending on how far your monitor reaches, you may even be able to visit with other moms when your children are down for their afternoon naps.
Put Yourself Out There
In order to make mom friends, you have to put yourself out there. Stop making excuses and belittling yourself. Once you decide to make friends, you’ll realize that most moms are in the same boat as you. It might feel strange or forced to walk up to a stranger on the playground and strike up a conversation about your kids, but chances are they’re dying for some company, too.
Contrary to what you might believe, most people don’t have a closed off social group where they no longer accept friends. There isn’t a cap on the number of friends someone is willing to have, so don’t feel like you’re imposing or overstepping invisible boundaries. The worst thing that can happen is that you have a slightly awkward conversation and then part ways. The best-case scenario is that you make a new friend who understands and appreciates you in this challenging season of life.